A dehumidifier is actually nothing much more than a type of modified air conditioner. Knowing the parts of your dehumidifier and how it works will let you make the most out of this appliance. There are two types of dehumidifiers – desiccant and refrigerant or compressor-based dehumidifier.
Since it operates similarly to air conditioners, a compressor based dehumidifier contains a refrigerant or compressed coolant gas, typically Freon, to remove humidity and heat from the air.
In air conditioners, this coolant gets moved outside the house while the heat gets dispersed there. In dehumidifiers, the main concern is eliminating humidity, not lowering the temperature for the heat to be dispersed inside the house to allow dehumidifiers to run with no vent outside. Read on to know the function of a refrigerant and how a dehumidifier works in general.
Components of a Dehumidifier
Majority of dehumidifiers have these components below:
1. Air Filter
You can find the air filter at the back of the grill in your dehumidifier. This traps the debris and dust found in the air that can cause contamination of condenser coils and evaporator fans.
The compressor is the pump compressing the refrigerant gas running through the evaporator to begin the process of water cooling and extraction. The compressed refrigerant gas will pass through the condenser where it will cool and condense into liquid form. The liquid refrigerant will move to a low-pressure evaporator wherein it will evaporate and absorb the heat from the air that moves into the evaporator fins to start the cooling process.
3. Collection Bucket
It is a container found right beneath the evaporator. This will collect the condensate water coming from the evaporator.
4. Electronic Control Board
This electronic control board inside the dehumidifier is in charge of controlling all the main electro-mechanical components. This monitors the humidistat’s input and sets the compressor into activation once the room’s humidity goes beyond the specific level that the user sets.
This will also shut off the compressor in the event that excessive frost accumulates on the evaporator.
The moment the fins have been cleared of frost, with the condensate water dripping in the collection bucket, this electronic control board is going to restart the compressor to go on with the dehumidification if required.
In a dehumidifier, the condenser is the heat exchanger cooling down the high pressure and hot refrigerant gas through turning this into liquid. The liquid will then flow through a low-pressure evaporator where it will evaporate. During the process, the refrigerant will absorb the heat coming from the air that blows across evaporator fins. Having the refrigerant cooled in the condenser can help improve the efficiency of the heat exchange process within the evaporator.
This is the part in charge of cooling the air and condensing the water located on the fins to dehumidify the area.
This evaporator fan can help in the dehumidification and cooling through blowing air across the evaporator and heat exchangers of the condenser.
It is the sensor that detects the humidity percentage of the water vapor amount present in the room. This makes use of a wire harness connection to give input to the electronic control board of the dehumidifier.
How Dehumidifiers Work
A dehumidifier removes excess dampness and moisture from the air to create a living condition free from dust mites, mold, and other types of allergenic organisms. How does this appliance regulate humidity? What mechanism allows the device to turn air moisture into liquid water?
As mentioned earlier, there are two primary types of dehumidifiers that help get rid of moisture from the air around you. These are refrigerant dehumidifiers and desiccant dehumidifiers.
How a Refrigerant Dehumidifier Works
The coils in a refrigerant dehumidifier are much colder than the surrounding air. Once the air passes through the coils, it turns colder, which means that its ability to hold and retain moisture also fails. Water will condense on the coils and drip into the pan or bucket for disposal.
The air that is now cooled will flow back over the warm motor of the dehumidifier for it to be slightly reheated before it gets released back to the room. The warm air that goes out of the refrigerant dehumidifier is dry which is more prone to attract moisture and improve the efficiency of the dehumidifier.
When the bucket that collects water fills up, the plastic float inside the machine will rise upwards. The moment the tray becomes full, the float will activate the electric switch that will turn off the fan. The indicator light will switch on to inform you that it is time for you to empty out the bucket.
How a Desiccant Dehumidifier Works
A desiccant dehumidifier, on the other hand, is an appliance that makes use of absorbent material for extracting water from the air. This material gets heated to cause moisture dripping in the water tank. This type of dehumidifier has been designed to function better in areas with lower temperature levels like a conservatory or a garage.
But, as compared to a refrigerant dehumidifier, a desiccant dehumidifier has the tendency to use up more energy due to the process where the absorbent material is warmed up first.
The moment you plug in your desiccant dehumidifier, it will begin removing the moisture that accumulated in your wall linings, furnishings, and carpet. This is why it is imperative to allow the dehumidifier to run continuously during the first several weeks.
After the room has achieved the desired level of humidity, you can then continue using your dehumidifier only if you are staying in the room. This will help maintain a healthy level in your living space.
Caution in Using Refrigerant Dehumidifier
Refrigerant like Freon is a harmful gas. Thus, it is important to take Freon leaks seriously. A damaged or leaking dehumidifier should be treated and handled with the same level of care as an air conditioner.
Never try to recharge or repair a dehumidifier if this is not stated for user service. In case you suspect that Freon leaks from your unit, remove the unit from your home and put it outside at a safe distance away from any open flame.